Day 83: Benghazi to Sirte
By these standards, the casting of Sir John Gielgud as a Bedouin was pretty obvious. The Lion Of The Desert brings us safely to the birthplace of The Guide Of The Revolution. Besides being Gaddafi's birthplace, Sirte is a potential new capital of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Republic. Modest outskirts of low mud and brick houses give way to a complex of hotels and government offices. Landscaped towers of white stone and black glass could be a corporate HQ in California, until you get inside and find the decorative style is pure Arabian Nights, festooned with spangly curtains, brass lamps and throne-size chairs which take three people to move. A Pan-African conference is to be held here soon, but at the moment, as with so much of 'official' Libya, this grand and expensive campus is deserted. Abdul finds us some food, though once more it's Western rather than local, but at least there is a bowl of harissa, the hot pepper paste, to breathe life into our hamburger and chips.
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